5 New Year's Self Care Techniques by Cynthia Land, LMT, RYT

At the beginning of every year many of us make obligatory resolutions, often abandoned within days of making them.  Today I offer you a set of somewhat yoga related self care items you can easily drop into your existing wake-up routine. They will help you feel refreshed and ready to face the day.  For the most part, they're easy to do and don't require you to purchase a lot of expensive equipment such as you might need with exercise regimes.  Give them a try. What do you have to lose but the parts of you you didn't want anyhow?  

By the time you get to my age, there's a chance you're already drinking water with your handful of supplements and/or medications.  Warm lemon water jump starts your digestive system by moving the sludge of the previous night out of your digestive tract and infusing you with a big hit of vitamin C.  The writer in this link doesn't mention it, but I have personally found that a big cup of warm water in the morning gives peristalsis a kick and might just help you run a little smoother if you know what I mean. 

This is one of those techniques that sounds uncomfortable but is really quite nice.  One of the first times I experienced skin brushing was at a waterfront hydrotherapy spa near Seattle.   The practitioner gently brushed my skin with a boar bristle brush and prepared me for a deep cleanse of my pores in a sauna.  It was amazing!  I now do this for myself and I love the way it makes my skin come alive. Remember, your skin is your body's biggest organ. I also know I'm helping slough off heaps of dead skin.  Yay!  Skin brushing isn't for everyone.  If you have eczema, psoriasis or just sensitive skin, you might not benefit from this technique.  
Banyan Botanicals image
Skin brushing is often followed by a shower, but I recommend abhyanga or self massage.  If you think your skin feels soft after the skin brushing, get on your warm massage oil, hop in a warm/hot shower to open up those skin pores and then see how soft your skin is!  I was using heaps of body butter to just barely not feel as though my skin wasn't going to break off from dryness.  When I do these two techniques together my skin is happy, happy, happy.  The video above also notes that you can get oils mixed for your dosha.  I just use sesame oil but am thinking I might add a drop or two of rosemary or verbena to soothe my doshas.  
  • Five minutes of pranayama 
I suspect this will be the hardest one for folks to add, next to the last one but it really sets the tone for your day.  Pranayama is the breathing exercise that determines the setting on your energy.  If you need more energy, pranayama. If you need calmer energy, pranayama. If you need more uplifting energy, pranayama.  Just five minutes a day can really make a difference as you head into meditation and into your day. Don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.  There are many different kinds of breathing exercises, be sure to check with your teacher to find the one that is right for you.  
Ah yes, if you are a yogi, all roads lead to meditation.  If you really want to be calmer and have more serenity this year meditation must be included somewhere.  I was reminded recently that meditation doesn't always mean sitting with your eyes closed.  Some people meditate while walking (Thich Naht Hahn), some even come to a place of peace by jogging or swimming.  However you get there, eke out a space in your daily life to soak in it. 
image from pinterest

Some would include neti pot in this list and that would be excellent.  Personally, I do nasal cleansing at the end of the day. Give one or all of these recommendations a try for 30 days and see what you notice.  And remember that meditation can start at five minutes and work up to something longer.  The important part is regularity.  The only way you'll notice a change is if you do these things regularly.  Let me know what you find!


  1. Great advice, Cynthia! We implement yoga, breathing, stretching during my time at physical therapy. It really has helped with mobility and energy. I will have to try the skin brushing as I've not heard of that. The winters are so harsh on skin.

  2. Great suggestions for those of us who seem to need multiple "jump-starts" throughout the year.

  3. I just bought some new sesame seed oil and am excited to try it after my next skin brushing session.



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